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United Nations Daily Highlights, 00-03-17

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, March 17, 2000

UN TEAM BEGINS TALKS ON KHMER ROUGE TRIALS IN CAMBODIA

UN Legal Counsel Hans Corell and his team began talks in Phnom Penh today with a Cambodian delegation headed by First Minister Sok An concerning the terms of reference for the proposed trial of Khmer Rouge leaders responsible for the late 1970s genocide.

Corell described today's talks as "concentrated". They will resume on Saturday.

ANNAN RETURNS FROM PARIS

Secretary-General Kofi Annan returned from Paris Thursday night after a day of meetings that included discussions with French President Jacques Chirac.

He also met with the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Koichiro Matsuura, and talked with heads of UN agencies based in Paris.

ANNAN, TURNER RECEIVE POLIO ERADICATION AWARD

This morning in the Secretary-General's conference room, the Secretary-General and Ted Turner were awarded the Polio Eradication Champion Award by Rotary International, in recognition of the efforts by the UN system and by the UN Foundation, the charity set up by Turner, to eliminate polio by this year.

The Polio Eradication Initiative was launched by the World Health Assembly in 1988. The UN Children's Fund, the World Health Organisation and Rotary International, along with the UN Foundation, have been the major partners in a massive worldwide campaign to immunize children against polio.

The Award that the Secretary-General and Turner have received today was established by Rotary International in 1995 to honor Heads of State, Government ministers and other leaders who have made significant contributions to polio eradication.

ROBINSON TO BEGIN CHECHNYA VISIT AT END OF MARCH

Mary Robinson, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, will visit Chechnya and other parts of the Russian Federation, from March 31 to April 4. The dates of her trip were announced today in Geneva. During her visit, she is expected to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on April 4. The High Commissioner hopes to spend two days during the trip in Chechnya itself.

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ACTING EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR TO VISIT ANGOLA

On Saturday, Carolyn McAskie, the Acting Emergency Relief Coordinator, will lead a six-day inter-agency mission to Angola, to examine the humanitarian needs of some 1.7 million internally-displaced people.

The mission, requested by the Secretary-General, will include officials from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Programme and the UN Children's Fund, and will undertake a comprehensive assessment of existing coordination arrangements. The mission will visit Huambo and Kuito, two of the provincial capitals where the bulk of internally-displaced persons are located.

UN HUMANITARIAN ENVOY PROVIDES BRIEFING ON MOZAMBIQUE

Ross Mountain, the Secretary-General's Special Humanitarian Envoy to Mozambique, is back in Geneva today, where he updated donor countries on the outcome of his mission and also gave a press conference.

As of today, 463,000 people who lost their homes in Mozambique are being cared for in 121 centers. Contributions reported to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the floods now total $119 million.

The transitional appeal for Mozambique, which will cover a six-month period and address reconstruction needs, is expected to be launched next week.

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TEAM IN DR OF CONGO COMPLETES VISITS TO FOUR SITES

The UN technical assessment team in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has completed trips to three of the four sites where peacekeeping troops will eventually be based.

The team visited Mbuji-Mayi, Kananga and Mbandaka between Tuesday and Thursday. They are scheduled to visit Matadi, the fourth site, on Saturday.

Deployment of the 5,500 military personnel is expected to take from four to six months, which means that the mission will be deployed by the end of June at the earliest.

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bernard Miyet has just completed a visit to the DRC. He is expected to brief the Security Council on the proposed mission to the DRC on March 28.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET ON AFGHANISTAN MONDAY

There is no meeting of the Security Council today. The Council's next scheduled meeting will be on Monday, when it will hold consultations on Afghanistan, including a briefing by the head of the UN Support Mission for Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell.

OGATA MEETS CROATIAN PRESIDENT

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata met today in Zagreb with Croatia's new President, Stipe Mesic, and other senior officials during her current trip to Croatia.

The High Commissioner has been hoping to speed up the process of refugee returns to Croatia, where some 65,000 Croatian Serbs have returned to their homes since 1995 but where the bulk of some 300,000 Croatian Serbs remain refugees. Most of the Croatian Serb refugees are living in Serbia and Montenegro, as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On Thursday, Ogata visited villages in the Pakrac area of Western Slavonia, which have accommodated Muslim and Croat refugees from Bosnia, as well as Croats who were displaced from Eastern Slavonia. Further information is provided in UNHCR's daily briefing note.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

In a statement read by the Spokesman, the Secretary-General expressed his sadness at the death of Morris Abram, whom he called "an ally and a friend." The Spokesman noted that Annan and Abram had known each other since the 1980s, and that Abram was known for his dedication to human rights and his desire to make the United Nations a better institution. "Morris Abram's record as an indefatigable advocate of human rights, freedom, tolerance and civil rights, from the Nuremberg trials until his death, should serve as an example and an inspiration to us all," the Spokesman said.

In response to a question on a report about the 1994 plane crash in which Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was killed, the Spokesman declined to comment and reiterated that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has also refused to comment on leaked documents.

Today, Venezuela became the 31st nation to sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

The Food and Agriculture Organization issued a press release on the opening today in The Hague of the World Water Forum. The World Health Organisation issued releases on the health crisis in Mozambique and the need for time-limited exemptions to a universal ban on DDT. The UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo issued a press release on the Central Election Commission, which is expected to hold its inaugural meeting next week.

San Marino paid its UN dues for the year 2000, becoming the 72nd Member State to pay in full. It made a payment of just over $21,000.

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THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

SATURDAY, MARCH 18

Acting Emergency Relief Coordinator Carolyn McAskie is to begin a visit to Angola, lasting through March 23, to look at the needs of the estimated 1.7 million displaced persons in that country.

SUNDAY, MARCH 19

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bernard Miyet begins a trip to Sierra Leone, where he will meet with President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and other leaders and visit UN deployment sites and disarmament camps. After departing Sierra Leone, Miyet will meet in Bamako, Mali, on Wednesday with President Alpha Conare, the current chairman of the Economic Community of West African States.

MONDAY, MARCH 20

The Security Council will hold consultations on Afghanistan.

In Geneva, the Commission on Human Rights begins its new session, which is to last until April 27.

In Kingston, Jamaica, the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority will hold its sixth session through March 31.

In Vienna, the Working Group on Arbitration Law will begin its 24th session.

Also in Vienna, the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency will hold a one-day meeting.

The next round of negotiations towards a global treaty on 12 of the world's most dangerous persistent organic pollutants (POPs) will take place from today until March 26 in Bonn. The control of the production and use of such toxic substances as DDT, PCBs and dioxins are to be covered in the proposed treaty, which is being negotiated under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme.

The United Nations University (UNU) will be releasing a study entitled "Kosovo and The Challenge of Humanitarian Intervention".

TUESDAY, MARCH 21

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Secretary-General will deliver a message on racial discrimination to mark the occasion. Ruben Blades, Goodwill Ambassador against Racism, will be the guest at the noon briefing.

At a press conference at 11 a.m., Joseph Chamie, Director of the Population Division, will discuss a report on replacement migration, which is being launched today.

The Security Council will hold open briefings on East Timor and Tajikistan.

The newly-appointed Panel on UN Peace Operations, chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi, will hold its first meeting in New York.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22

The Secretary-General will mark the World Day for Water, which is intended to promote awareness of water resource development, with a message.

The Security Council will hold an open briefing on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Bank are holding a Ministerial Conference on TB and Sustainable Development in Amsterdam from today until Friday, which is World Tuberculosis Day. Health and finance ministers from the 20 countries with the highest TB burden will attend, along with WHO Executive Director Gro Harlem Brundtland and Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS.

THURSDAY, MARCH 23

The Security Council has scheduled an open debate on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, at which it will discuss the Secretary-General's recent report on the role UN peacekeeping can play in those fields.

This is World Meteorological Day.

FRIDAY, MARCH 24

The Security Council will hold consultations and an open briefing on the humanitarian situation in Iraq, at which Benon Sevan, executive director of the Office of the Iraq Programme, will speak.

A symposium on strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention, organized by the Department for Disarmament Affairs and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, will take place in the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium from 2 to 5 p.m. Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala will deliver the opening statement.

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